Call for Submissions 14th Annual African American Fiber Art Exhibition: Sankofa

Sankofa is a word in the Twi language spoken by the Akan tribe of present day Ghana. It is associated with the proverb, “Se wo were fi na wosankofa a yenkyi,” which translates to “it is not taboo to fetch what is at risk of being left behind.” Today, it is more simply interpreted as “go back and get it.” Sankofa also refers to the Asante Adinkra symbol used by the Akan people to represent the same idea, with one version appearing as a stylized heart shape and the other by a mythical bird with its feet firmly planted forward, its head turned backwards, and its mouth carrying a precious egg. Both the word and the symbols represent the concept of remembering our past in order to protect our future. The challenge for this year’s exhibit is for artists to create a pictorial fiber work that illustrates the idea of sankofa. Entries must incorporate one of the two sankofa symbols (heart or bird).

Organized and presented by the City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department, this unique opportunity offers African American fiber artists a showcase to exhibit their original and innovative designs.

Following the close of the exhibition, up to 20 works will be selected to tour the state of South Carolina through the SC State Museum’s 2020/2021 Traveling Exhibitions Program. Sites across South Carolina may request the exhibit to tour in their facilities, thus providing additional exposure for the selected artists.

This exhibition opportunity is open to African American artists residing in the United States, ages 18 and older, working in the medium of fiber. The $30 entry fee allows artists to submit up to four entries. Two entries per artist may be selected by the curator. Artwork DOES NOT have to be complete at time of entry. Artists may enter works in progress.

The City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department welcomes back Torreah “Cookie” Washington as the curator for this annual exhibition. Cookie is an award-winning master art quilter and curator. She was born in Rabat, Morocco, and has traveled extensively, creating with textiles for more than a quarter of a century. A fourth generation textile artist, Cookie’s mother, grandmother, and great grandmother were all experienced quilters, fashion designers, and master tailors. Cookie has lived in the South Carolina Lowcountry  for 30 years and is excited by the now thriving arts community. Her current passion is fiber art muralism that celebrates the Divine Feminine, and the contributions of her African ancestral heritage.

The deadline for submission of entries is Sunday, March 1, 2020. Applications are accepted and processed through SlideRoom, an online platform. If you need assistance completing your application, contact our office at 843-740-5854 or [email protected]

The application may be accessed by visiting the Apply page at

NOTE: Fiber pieces do not have to be complete at the time of application submission. Artists may upload progress photographs if the piece(s) are not finished by the application deadline. If accepted, fiber pieces must be completed, and delivered to the Cultural Arts office by April 13, 2020.

Visit to view details on other participation opportunities, the 2019 festival components, and updates on the 2020 festival schedule. Questions may be directed to the Cultural Arts Dept. at 843-740-5854 or [email protected]

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